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Introduction: Preoperative anemia is an important and relatively common problem in patients undergoing cardiac surgery, and its treatment is crucial in improving postoperative outcomes. The use of recombinant erythropoietin is one of the suggested methods in this field. Therefore, in the present study, we sought to evaluate the effects of recombinant erythropoietin on hemoglobin (Hb) levels and blood transfusion needs in cardiac surgery in patients with preoperative anemia.

Methods: This randomized nonblind clinical trial was performed on patients with mild-to-moderate anemia (Hb <12 g/dL in men and Hb <11 g/dL in women) undergoing cardiac surgery at a referral heart hospital (Tehran, Iran). The patients were randomly divided into two groups of 33 patients. In the intervention group, recombinant erythropoietin was administered at a dose of 500 IU/kg one to three days before surgery. Intra- and postoperative Hb levels and the need for blood transfusion were recorded during surgery and for 3 days afterward.

Results: The use of packed red blood cells in the operating room was similar in the intervention and control groups (P = 0.156), but it was significantly lower in the intensive care unit in the intervention group (P = 0.030). The mean Hb, which was initially identical in the two groups (P > 0.05), showed a significantly lower decrease in the intervention group (P = 0.001). No significant differences were observed concerning other variables.

Conclusions: The use of recombinant erythropoietin (500 IU/kg/day) one to three days before cardiac surgery in our anemic patients blunted a reduction in Hb levels and decreased blood transfusion needs.

(C) 2022 Annals of Cardiac Anaesthesia | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow